Review of 2018

As grateful for life as I am, and as much as I believe I am enjoying it, I am slightly perplexed to see how few shareable highlights I have from this year.  
The Christmas card, by definition is already shared.  
And with the achievements worth mentioning, generally some kind of hitch: 
– The public losing belief in Brexit but still waiting for the moment when we change; oh and all the blog entries
Labour doing well in the May polls, but only finding out at the following tea-time, by which time the media had decided we’d lost;
– The Democrats winning by 9.7 million votes, but it taking 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 10 to realise that the victory had been that good.
– Trump facing 19 criminal investigations, but all of them still in progress. 
Convening a good public meeting on knife crime, and the arrests of people who’d stabbed others in The Meadows;  but the issue itself was depressing;
– A sensational season for Salop, but with 2 Wembley defeats.
– England using young players and special teams tactics to good effect in the World Cup finals, only to chuck it away against Croatia cos of inexperience and lack of tactical nouse.

Quite a lot of the rest has been fairly grim –
* the Bridge ward being split, and the re-launch of a corrupt Parliamentary review;
* tax changes giving even more to the rich;
* people in need losing out with the roll-out of Universal Credit;
* cuts to the welfare and public services, including requiring another £25 million by Nottingham City Council;
cuts to school budgets;
* ongoing social impacts, including kids presenting problems associated with overcrowding at home, despite celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I when we resolved to provide homes for heroes;
* major fire damage to Cattle Market and to Nottingham railway station;

So what to celebrate?
Lots more nice moments as a civic (see the twitter account), including telling Nottingham’s stories.
Hoodwinked.
The Meadows hosted the British Triathlon mixed relay cup again;

Finally, remember –
Ken Williams, Mohammad Aslam, Tim Bell, Mohammed Ibrahim and
Stephen Hawking and
Pete Shelley, Mark E. Smith

Previous reviews:
Review of 2017 – 2016– 2015– 2014– 2013– 2012.

Have now logged over 2186 matters since becoming a Bridge ward councillor.
But will now set up a fuller progress section on this web-site cos of the split of Bridge ward into Meadows and Castle wards.

LINKS TO BE ADDED
Note, there is a separate review of the year for the recreational events.

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Bridge ward monthly report 87

Stories of poverty in The Meadows affecting family life. Frustration with Universal Credit.
Celebrating Christmas as a community, as a party , with a residents’ group and at the library. Another Christmas card. and then a Christmas Day funeral for Cllr Mohammed Ibrahim.
(sorrow too at the loss of Pete Shelley.)
Area 8 committee. Finally rolled out most of the traffic changes long-promised for the Meadows.
Protests against the proposed closure of the Crown Post Office on Queen Street.

Review of 2018 (recreation)

Once wrote an arts review of a year cos there was too much else to write about.
This year, there’s a separate review, cos I can’t put the joy of these experiences within the same blog entry as all the serious stuff; you can’t mix the celebration with the misery.

Then the surprise: Theatre often had the best moments, matching gigs and football!

And so to my very personal and selective listings and ratings.
Films were great this year too, along with documentaries and tv short drama series.

34 films at the cinema, and a film course in which fellow students voted “3 Billboards outside Epping, Missouri” as film of the year. Now I’ve only rated it 5th. But having invented my own rating system, and then having had to tweak it at the end of the year, I now understand why film critics use a 5 star system.
I’ve also realised why trying to be a film critic is not for me. Cos there’s loads of films I don’t want to see (and I once liked the idea of Spiderman). And cos I only want to make a few extra comments, not re-tell the story of the the film. And cos I did break my rating system.

There were some great films. But there were no films that I didn’t think were worthwhile seeing.

So to my top 6 films (drama), kinda 5 stars:
Isle of Dogs 
Funny Cow 
Columbus
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
First Man
Then, the kinda 4 stars
Sorry to Bother you
BlacKkKlansman
Beast
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Children Act
Apostasy
The Wife
Yardie
The Breadwinner 
Sweet Country
I Tonya
Lady Bird
The Post
Then the kinda 3 stars
Les Gardiennes
Call Me by Your Name
You were never really here
A Fantastic Woman 
Dark River
Then the kinda 2 stars
The Death of Stalin
Jawbone
Game Night 
Peterloo
The Square
Then the kinda 1 star
Thunderbirds Are Go 
Darkest Hour
Molly’s Game
Phantom Thread
Yeah, hard on the last 2, but they were too long.
Also, Kinetics, but I didn’t review at the time.

So much good stuff elsewhere, and yet, the best personal experiences came from gigs, and surprisingly for me, theatre. Yeah, I know.

Gigs:
Killing Joke;
Blue Orchids;
Splendour (Stranglers).

Invoked in part by trips down memory lane.

Theatre: 
Blue Remembered Hills,
Flare Path 
Wonderland
This House
Shebeen
Holes at Nottingham Playhouse
The Wipers Times returns to music hall
Allelujah!
Kindertransport
New Nigerians
The Fishermen
Art

Sweet Charity,

TV drama got better in the Autumn, but the stuff I’d pick out :
A Very English Scandal,
Killing Eve,
Bodyguard,
Informer
and for other reasons
Torvill & Dean & Bolero celebrated

Documentary and commentary, tv and film:
They Shall Not Grow Old
Fahrenheit 11/9
Science Fair movie 
Jack Jones documentary
Here to be Heard
GBS
T. Rex was not what we were taught

Sport highlights:
Salop winning at Charlton in the play-offs – the sound of that ball hitting the net in a silenced stadium.
England’s formation for corner kicks; although not the overall achievement at the World Cup cos (as the songs says) we threw it away 

ALL OF THIS TO HAVE PROPER LINKS INCLUDED





Presents

Turns out I gave a cartoon book on Brexit (highlighting its nonsense) for Christmas, and I received a book off the same ilk.

For a country with so many issues to deal with, the time it has taken up is a reminder of what a distraction it is.
My summary position is –

“Nottingham City Council took a report in November that highlighted the challenges we face by leaving on March 29th – the country is not ready. Nottingham Labour Councillors also re-affirmed our belief that remaining in the EU for our city. Remain also has a clear meaning. “Brexit is Brexit” and “Brexit means Brexit” doesn’t. One is Farage’s slogan. The other is May’s. And neither slogan actually defines the outcome of their intentions. Getting clarity on what kind of Brexit Leavers want would be a new purpose to a further referendum. The other would be to establish whether there is still a majority to Leave. Because we now know we do not have the upper hand in negotiations about trade; that there is not the money that was promised for the NHS; that the agreement that brought peace in the island of Ireland is at risk; that jobs in industry and service will indeed leave the UK. We may also more fully understand the challenge of agreeing new treaties under the World Trade Organisation arrangements, the risk to the future for Gibraltar, and know more about whether the Leave campaign of 2016 was illegally financed. We may find the recent polling (this December) is correct and that the British people, when formally asked, will no longer wish to see the UK leave the European Union.”

I want to weave in a bit on the labour market, cos it’s at the heart of the huge resentment there’s been at places of work.  And now it will ned updating anyway.

As for Labour’s policy, I thought the compromise of explaining how we’d respect the referendum result was to lead to a referendum cos there’d be nothing left and that the views of party and trade union members would lead to advocating a Remain position.  What I didn’t foresee was Labour’s front bench deciding they had to advocate Brexit even more strongly before a vote on May’s deal.  Presumably it will mean embracing the six tests, which I think means the changes from our current status will be that we’re outside, won’t have MEPs or be part of the political processes for where the EU goes next, and have new arrangements on rights to movement.  Even if the EU agrees a deal on that basis, I’m not sure many will see this as much of a deal – all Remainers and many Brexiters will both point out how bad such a deal is from their point of view. 

I actually think the lack of a majority for anything in Parliament, including the hard Brexit, will mean that we’ll withdraw our Article 50 application.  Then – how to resolve the emphasis.  Presumably, the next step is May tries to negotiate the actual deal for December 2020, or we call a referendum find out what people want, on the grounds that it wasn’t clear what kind of Leave was wanted – to which there are now 3 options – a Hard Brexit, a negotiated Brexit on May’s outline, and a Corbyn Brexit – alongside Remain.  

And I think Remain will win.  

Just as an indication of how much Brexit has taken up , here are the links to the blog entries I’ve made since before 2016 –

2018:
– Keep thinking about what has happened
– Anti-Brexit demo in the Old Market Square
– Conservative Remainer speaks on Brexit 
– Sausages in Berlin for teatime 
– Speech to full Council on Brexit
– Consequences for Nottingham of Brexit
– Remembrance prayers for those who govern
– Missing out on EU opportunities
– Against Brexit hold a stall in Hockley 
– Have the British changed on EU membership?
– Pitiful
– Three types of Brexit
– Changes since the referendum
2017:
– European Movement rally in Nottingham
– Article 50 letter to the European Union
– Paul Blomfield on Brexit
– Supreme Court makes sensible ruling
– Referendum turnout and ward trends
– Mervyn King skewers Project Fear
– SNP did badly
– Referendum result
– Labour IN for the Old Meadows on the eve of the poll
– The Distraction
– Labour IN for the New Meadows
– Two REMAIN campaigns in The Meadows
– Blanks
– Turkey
– Living in your parents’ garage
– Misrepresentation
– Another Europe is Possible
– Identity
– Watch out for those hungry pythons
– The greatest “blue on blue” political attack of the modern era
– Leave Alone
– A difficult separation
– Lilian visits Meadows Muslim Centre for Labour IN for Britain
– Proportion on the doorstep
– Bananas
– Now it’s lies about Turkey
– Lilian IN for Castle Marina
– Labour IN for the Old Meadows in the rain again
– Labour IN for Britain rally in Old Market Square
– Labour IN for the Old Meadows
– The Little Englanders are left gasping
– Passers by speak out
– Paying to be in the European Union
– Glenis and Liz and Labour IN for Britain
– Keeping the UK
– Tony Blair on a referendum that would bring chaos
– And traitors sneer
– Ryder Cup trumps British nationalism
… and more 

Finally, 2 views on the value of the European Union. Possibly a bit unfair to Brexiters cos these authors said slavery twice and might have worked harder on “prodigality”.

Torvill & Dean & Bolero celebrated

Kinda knew the ITV drama on Torvill & Dean would not be great.
Some moments in their developing lives that were not worked into a strong story for the programme. The story is no “I, Tonya”. If Jayne would have stopped but for the step change that the Bolero act was to represent, and if Bolero was as Chris is shown to have claimed – their story of a love that couldn’t be – it needed to come through, and perhaps be explained in contrast to the staid styles of others that they were breaking away from. Instead, Chris cold be a bit dictatorial, slightly remarks against work colleagues who probably did have to carry them (and hey, no mention of the City Council’s support for them).
But, I knew the programme was not great, and realised, and still watched.
Yes, it’s a Nottingham story. But I’d grown attached to Bolero (the original 15 minute version) in 1977. But I watched cos following them then was an emotional experience.

The BBC tried to help with a 2014 (check) documentary (“The Perfect Day”) re-shown on Boxing Day, but its credibility was damaged by including an interview with Jeffrey Archer telling ‘a man of the people’ story.

Season’s Greetings 2018

Happy Holidays to friends and colleagues.
The theme to my card this year is birds.
The pet budgies who appear to be happy and smiling.
Their portrayal alongside me and a toy moose as the robins who featured in this year’s Hoodwinked event. 
And a blank template for you to use and colour in with your own ideas for a Hoodwinked robin.